Laventille, Trinidad (December 2, 2009) - The year 2009 has proven to be a year of milestones for the country of Trinidad and Tobago, due to the historic global summits hosted by the twin-island state in the Summit of the Americas and the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. For Panland Trinidad and Tobago Ltd., the world’s largest producer and marketer of the steelpan, these events have also brought unique opportunities to elevate our National Instrument to the highest levels and command the attention of historic political leaders and figures.
The momentum the company received after presenting steelpan gifts to U.S. President Barack Obama in April of this year, created a wave of excitement throughout the pan fraternity and the country as a whole.
“We were very happy with the reaction from the general public after the word got out about our Candy Purple pan that made its way onto Air Force One,” comments Michael Cooper, President of the Laventille-based company. “It made us proud to know that we could bring recognition to our community by ensuring that our nation’s pride and joy rests in one of the most heralded diplomatic residences in the world. The response has been overwhelming and has further motivated us to take the lead in ensuring that the instrument has the visibility it deserves, and that it is constantly progressing toward global mainstream acceptance.”
And take the lead, Panland did. In September 2009, Mr. Cooper wrote a letter to His Excellency President George Maxwell Richards, offering to create an exclusive steelpan package for the President to present as a gift to his distinguished guests, Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip, during their upcoming visit to the country. This proactive and generous gesture from the company’s founder, combined with the gracious acceptance of His Excellency, resulted in the breathtaking, custom crafted Low-C Tenor pan that was presented to His Royal Highness Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, by Their Excellencies Professor George Maxwell Richards and Jean Ramjohn-Richards at the reception that was held on the first day of their official visit.
The steelpan gift (pictured below) was custom powder coated in a premium two-toned treatment, encompassing the blue and gold colours of the Office of President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. This represents the latest coating innovation for the steelpan industry, brought to market by Panland Trinidad and Tobago Limited in 2007. The milestone development has ignited the industry with the variety of colors, finishes and the enhanced quality that it has brought to the instrument. The front skirt of this steelpan bore the Presidential Crest of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, and greetings from Their Excellencies Professor George Maxwell Richards and Dr. Jean Ramjohn-Richards. The steelpan was also packaged with a special tenor pan case that was handcrafted in premium blue leather exterior and padded blue velvet lining, together with a two-toned, blue and chrome pan stand and blue powder coated sticks. The pan case and stand bag were each embellished with gold embroidery of the title of His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh.
  From all reports, the Duke of Edinburgh was delighted with his gift and commented on the fascination that he has for the innovation and musical wonder that characterizes the steelpan. His praises are yet another highlight of the splendour of our National Instrument and its ability to capture the hearts and minds of people around the world. As stated emphatically by Mr. Cooper, “The gesture to His Excellency to create this gift on his behalf was not something we took lightly. We see it as our responsibility as the global industry leader to preserve the birthright of the steelpan and elevate the prominence of the instrument for the betterment of the industry, and most importantly for the ultimate benefit of the people of Trinidad and Tobago.”


Panland Trinidad and Tobago Ltd. Receives Official Letter of Gratitude from the White House

LAVENTILLE, Trinidad (September 15, 2009) – Panland Trinidad and Tobago Ltd., the world’s largest manufacturer and exporter of the steelpan instrument, had reason to celebrate last week upon receiving an authentic letter of sincere thanks from the man of possibilities himself - U.S. President Barack Obama. The official White House correspondence, direct from Washington, D.C., follows the grand gesture of goodwill shown to President Obama during a visit by his presidential aide to the Selection House exhibit, during the Summit of the Americas Meeting in April of this year. While President Obama’s intent was to purchase two mini-pans for his daughters, he was met with a sweet surprise when presented with the complimentary “candy purple” tenor pan package from Panland’s Color of Pan collection, as well as one black and one red mini-pan for Malia and Sasha respectively.

While the event became somewhat of a mystery and surprise to the general public that our national instrument had boarded Air Force One, Panland President Michael P. Cooper simply describes it as a destined meeting between two phenoms – an instrument that was born out of the defiance of oppression, and a man who similarly has shattered boundaries unchallenged; both rooted in a common history:
“The wonder of the steelpan continues to capture the minds and hearts of people around the world, and in this case genius has recognized genius,” said Mr. Cooper. “At Panland, we continue to be inspired by the unique origins of our national treasure, but are even further motivated by the limitless future of the instrument, the industry and the communities that benefit from its development. The gracious sentiments sent to us from President Obama have fuelled that fire and renewed that commitment to our role as Panmakers to the World. We feel that his endorsement is one to celebrate and share with our fellow citizens of this country, because pan belongs to the people of Trinidad and Tobago as a whole.”

The Laventille - based company, which boasts over 40 dedicated employees, continues to blaze a trail that promotes the mainstream acceptance of the steelpan within the global music industry, due in no small part to its innovation of production methods and the instrument itself. Since its inception in the early 1990’s, Panland has also prioritized the enhancement of the steelpan’s socioeconomic importance to local, regional and global communities. In this vein, the company continues to seize every opportunity to showcase and validate the importance of the steelpan, with the engagement with President Obama now a key highlight in that journey.

With passion and vigor, Mr. Cooper underscores this philosophy saying, “In the pan world, we can no longer afford to miss key opportunities to promote and realize the true potential of our national instrument, and we viewed the Summit of the Americas Meeting as such an event. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez had a similar mindset, his gift to President Barack Obama has become an instant bestseller. While we were elated that the opportunity presented itself to be endorsed by such an historic figure and cultural icon, we cannot underestimate the worth of the forfeited rewards of having the steelpan grace the diplomatic residences of all heads of state. We must be proactive and sophisticated in our approach to providing the appropriate platforms and enabling the resources necessary to ensure sustainable growth and systemic success.”

This notion of sustainable growth just happens to be a primary theme in the upcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in November of this year. It is Panland’s hope and the hope of pan enthusiasts alike, that the Trinidad and Tobago community, at all levels, will exploit a second chance to not only place pan up front and center during the weekend itself, but more importantly to engage our dignified guests with our national instrument in a way that transcends the physical gathering of the Commonwealth leaders. To quote President Obama’s words in his letter of gratitude to Mr. Cooper, “If  we work together to address our Nations’ new and complex challenges, we will emerge stronger and more prosperous than ever before.”